Ireland Masters open with pair of wins over Wales

** Words from Helen Johnston

The three Irish Masters women’s teams played Wales on Friday afternoon recording two strong wins and a draw to get their busy weekend of action off to a good start.

In Serpentine Avenue, The Irish O-40s, took a while to settle with Wales forcing a number of corners early on. But Ireland grew into the game scoring the first goal after 13 minutes from a Gillian Garrett deflection.

They went 2-0 ahead just before half time when Aisling Schutte scored after good work by Alison Gillan. Wales pressed in the second half but without reward and it was Ireland who increased their lead.

Garrett returned to the pitch from the sin bin and scored the goal of the game with a reverse stick shot into the top corner of the goal. Wales got a consolation goal two minutes from the end from a Tracey Bow shot but Ireland prevailed for a 3-1 win. In the other match in the O-40s section, England beat Scotland 4-0.

To the strains of the Robbie Williams warm up band, the barbecue smoke and in the incessant rain, Ireland O-45s were unable to get full points against Wales. It was Ireland who made the early running going 1-0 up by half time through a Tracey Skoyles penalty corner strike.

Wales found the equaliser in the second half through a corner of their own. The hosts went ahead again through another Skoyles penalty corner but Wales again equalised when they were awarded a stroke following a heavy tackle in the circle.

Ireland pushed for the winner, with midfielder Joan Dobson leading the charge, but the score remained 2-2 at the final whistle. In the other match in the O-45s group England beat Scotland 3-1.

The Ireland O-50s played Wales at the National Hockey Stadium and got off to a dream start when Cathy Walsh scored a brace in the first 15 minutes; the first following a perfect pass from Maggie Hunter and the second off a corner switch.

Pat Stewart increased the lead from a rebound following good work by Dee Wallace and Helen Johnston put Ireland 4-0 up by half time from a corner strike. Angie Boran got Ireland’s fifth, finding the goal from the left side of the circle. Wales did not give up and were awarded a stroke which Eirian Fox converted.

Ireland finished strong with Dymphna Hill getting a touch to score following a great run by Maureen Flavin. Ireland ran out 6-1 winners. England and Scotland drew 0-0 in the other match in this pool.

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